Tag Archives: Maspeth Bypass

Trucks plague Grand Avenue, ruining quality of life, locals say


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

There are still a truckload of problems in Maspeth.

Grand Avenue, a main artery that runs through Maspeth connecting Brooklyn to Queens, is used daily by many trucks and tractor-trailers as a thoroughfare between the boroughs.

The problem is the decades-old practice is illegal for most trucks, which continue to traverse the roadway despite an alternate truck route established by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Trucks hurtling down Grand Avenue are hurting businesses and the quality of life in the neighborhood, said Anthony Nunziato, a resident of Maspeth and the owner of a Grand Avenue business.
“These trucks coming through cause numerous amounts of problems for us,” Nunziato said. “People are afraid to cross the street, traffic is constantly backed up, there is unnecessary noise and truck fumes are all over. It’s a real quality-of-life problem.”

Back in 2007, the DOT, along with Community Board 5, devised an alternate truck route named the Maspeth Bypass to alleviate this problem. The route, implemented in 2011, gives trucks and tractor-trailers a Brooklyn-Queens route that avoids Grand Avenue except for local deliveries.

Nunziato, who has owned Enchanted Florist on Grand Avenue for more than 28 years, said the restrictions are rarely enforced, which is why the trucks are still an outstanding issue.

“All we want is enforcement,” he said. “The alternate route was put in for a reason. There has to be something done.”

Moreover, 53-foot-long tractor-trailers, which must follow a strict traffic pattern when traveling in the city and may not make any pick-ups or deliveries when there, according to state law, roll down the avenue daily in apparent violation of state law, Nunziato said.

When asked about the enforcement of the illegal trucks on Grand Avenue, the DOT referred the question to the NYPD.

The 104th Precinct said they conduct enforcement with the state Department of Transportation, which will, after a request, set up a temporary weighing station to check for illegal trucks.

The NYPD’s official press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But Nunziato fears that as the trucks continue to rumble down the avenue, he will start to lose business.
“I have customers telling me all the time that it’s too dangerous to come down Grand or that there’s always too much traffic,” Nunziato said. “The bad part about it is that we actually devised another path for the trucks to use and it is just being ignored.”

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Elizabeth Crowley, Craig Caruana face off in heated District 30 debate


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

The first public debate between Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley and Craig Caruana was contentious.

The competitors faced off in a heated exchange on Monday. It was marked by frequent interruptions, yelling on both sides and cheers and jeers from attending residents of District 30, which includes Maspeth, Middle Village, Richmond Hill, Ridgewood, Glendale, parts of Woodhaven and Woodside.

The debate, which The Courier co-hosted, was organized by the Juniper Park Civic Association at Our Lady of Hope in Middle Village.

The showdown exploded from the very first question, which was about the Knockdown Center, a controversial arts hall in Maspeth that has hosted parties and is seeking a liquor license.

Crowley, who is in support of the center, said it will bring jobs and arts to the community.

“Do I support good jobs? Yes. Do I support arts as an economic engine? Yes,” Crowley said. “Now my opponent you will hear opposes this, and I believe it’s because he doesn’t have the ability to think outside the box when it comes to creating jobs.”

Caruana doesn’t believe the center will be used for arts, but as a club based on past parties that it has held.

“It’s not about jobs, it’s about hipsters coming from out of the area, creating a problem…” Caruana said. “This is a club that wants to sell liquor.”

The candidates sparred on various contentious projects in the community, such as the proposed Glendale homeless shelter, truck traffic and the Maspeth Bypass, the Ridgewood Reservoir development project and increased railroad garbage.

Many general questions were asked as well, including how the candidates would improve education, traffic problems, quality of life issues and decrease crime.

Crowley, who has been the councilmember for nearly four years, choose to answer questions based on her accomplishments, while taking jabs at Caruana.

Caruana, who has no experience as an elected official, stuck to his ideas to improve the neighborhood, relying on his background as a native of Middle Village and his work at the Pentagon.

Before the debate even got started crowds of Crowley and Caruana supporters were chanting at each other outside with placards, banners and megaphones for almost 20 minutes.

 

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